Summary: With the greatest message in the world to give, why are Christians treated with hostility?
One of the things that confuses many Christians is the attitude of non-Christians toward them. Most of us think that since we go to the world with the greatest and most important message in all of history that the world would applaud and cheer. For the most part, people are not waiting for that message with open arms. In fact, the Bible says that the world does not want us or our message. They hate us. Hate? That is what Jesus said.
Why does the world hate Christians?
A. Because Christians are different. (18,19)
"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hate you."
"world" is not the earth. Everyone lives in the physical world. It is the word - cosmos. It is the word from which we get the word COSMETICS. It means "to put in order." Cosmetics are designed to put women’s faces in order. Most of you have watched women putting on their make-up with the use of the car mirror while on their way to work.
The world than is organized. Put in order. It is a system run by an intelligent head, the devil. He has one specific goal: to get this world order to leave God out. The word "worldly" then as it is used biblically means to operate as if there is no God. Don Carson - The created moral order in active rebellion against God. To buy into that system and operate within that system that in practice and lifestyle operates independently of God.
You cannot reconcile the war between the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of God. (James 4:4) "Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be the friend of the world is the enemy of God." You cannot be a friend of that which hates the Father. The world says: disobey God, forget God, don’t follow God, leave God out, forsake God. You can’t be a friend of something like that. You can’t have God and the world.
(Rom 12:2) "Don’t be conformed to this world." Don’t be squeezed into its mold. Don’t let the world tell you what to do.
Ho do you know when the world is telling you what to do? Can you include God? Anything that keeps you from including God is worldly.
As a Christian, what can I do? Anything God can do with you. If Jesus has to wait outside while you do it, DON’T DO IT!
You love what you spend your time, your money and your energy on. If very little of it is going to God, then God is not the One you love.
(19) "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."
The more you look like Christ the more the world is going to treat you the same way it treated Him. When you don’t act, talk or think like the world does, you are going to make the crowd uncomfortable. You are not going to be "one of us." The fact is you are not. God has "chosen you out" by His sovereign grace. This concept of a Christian living in the world, but not being of the world is a key concept to understand what it means to be a Christian. "His own" are those who have become at home in the world. Life on this earth is all they live for. They spend their lives trying to get the things of this world. Their values are wrapped up in power, pleasure and possessions.
B. Because Christians insist on an absolute standard.(20-24)
(20) "Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have presecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also."
If the church today is not undergoing persecution it may be because there is very little distinction between the world and the church. Religious surveys consistently show that there are no noticeable differences between the lifestyles of those who attend church and those who do not. Church members wear the same clothes as the secular culture, watch the same movies, get divorced at the same rate, buy as many lottery tickets, have as man affairs and use just as many questionable business practices. The secular culture has so invaded the minds and hearts of those in the church both in the pew and the pulpit, that the godless society sees nothing about the church worth persecuting. That in itself may be the most telling criticism the church faces today.
(21) "Butall these things will they do unto you for My name’s sake, because they know not Him that sent Me."